2020 was a big year for 19-year-old Siena: amidst a global pandemic, she moved out of home for the first time, settled into life at university college, and started studying to become a midwife.
Ultimately working towards the goal of undertaking medicine and training as an obstetrician, Siena’s current studies have given her invaluable experience of life on a busy maternity ward. It’s been a demanding time by any standards, but it’s a chapter Siena said she has relished.
“I’m now in my second year of a Bachelor of Midwifery and absolutely love it. I’m very passionate about women’s health,” said Siena.
“I have delivered six babies so far on my university placements, with another one due this week!”
It was also during the peak of coronavirus last year that wearing masks in hospitals was made compulsory. Siena, who was diagnosed with hearing loss at three years old and wears hearing aids, said she found it difficult not being able to see their faces. It meant extra effort was needed for conversations with staff and patients, and she was constantly left feeling exhausted at the end of each day.
Siena came to Hear and Say for a series of specialised speech therapy sessions (known as auditory learning) to help make listening less draining and get the most from her hearing aids .
“When my hearing loss was first diagnosed when I was three years old, I did [LEAP] playgroup at Hear and Say. It was great to then go back last year and do some speech therapy which helped me with ‘listening fatigue’ when I’m at my hospital placement,” said Siena.
“In sessions with my listening and spoken language specialist, I would practice things relevant to my work as a student midwife, such as listening in noise or from a distance, following a small group conversation of people wearing masks, and understanding and answering questions a patient might ask.
“Being able to clearly listen and speak has made the world of difference to me. From all the dancing I did growing up, to playing the piano, to the critical need for communication skills now in my career – it’s really allowed me to follow my dreams.”
To find out how Hear and Say can support you with hearing and speech services, please click here.